What is health literacy? Health literacy issues of immigrants in non-English-speaking countries have received limited attention. Low health literacy has a direct correlation with poor health outcomes. Students need literacy in order to engage with the written word in everyday life. You’ve never heard the term before, but it sounds like something you should be aware of. ReadSpeaker works with government agencies worldwide to increase health literacy by providing spoken versions of online content to assist those with lower levels of literacy or other issues making it difficult for them to comprehend online content. “It is the ability of patients, caregivers, family members and the public to understand what doctors and other health care providers are communicating,” says Deann Jepson, senior program director at Advocates for Human Potential. Breast self-exam, or regularly examining your breasts on your own, can be an important way to... A small study suggests that people who took antioxidant supplements before and during... Last modified on December 23, 2020 at 8:01 AM. “Unfortunately, up to 9 out of 10 adults can have limited health literacy, and this can be fluid,” Blue says. And if there are barriers to communication, that collaborative ability breaks down. Health literacy means your ability to collect and understand your health information so you can make the best decisions for your unique situation. External links provided on rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. It is equally important for health care organizations to be health literate. This includes preventative care, … All Rights Reserved. This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. The 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy found that approximately 77 million U.S. adults a re a t basic or below – basic health literacy.This represents a third of the U.S. population. Health literacy is important because it can affect your ability to Make good decisions about your health Get the medical care you need. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that as many as 9 in 10 adults have limited health literacy. "Poor health literacy is a stronger predictor of a person's health than age, income, employment status, education level, and race," according to the American Medical Association report Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Help Patients Understand. Older adults and their caregivers need reliable health information to prevent and manage disease, promote their health and follow public health recommendations and warnings. Cognition is an important predictor of health literacy among older adults more so than years of education. It also outlines a “universal precautions approach,” which encourages healthcare professionals to assume all patients have a limited understanding of the procedures and information being relayed to them—this levels the field and helps ensure all patients are receiving easy-to-understand information. Health literacy is important because it helps people find the right health care and services, take care of a chronic condition or disease, or simply maintain their health and wellness. At some point in your life, you will need to be able to use and understand health information and services. Health literacy is the level to which an individual is capable of accessing, understanding, and communicating basic health information and services to make smart decisions concerning his or her wellbeing. Patients’ health literacy is a stronger predictor of their health status than income, employment, education level, and racial or ethnic group.19Low health literacy, once identified, can be effectively addressed and managed to improve overall health outcomes. Breastcancer.org’s EIN is 23-3082851. Also included in health literacy is knowledge of medical services and procedures in order to make health decisions appropriately. Only about 12% of adults in the United States have good health literacy, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.1 This means that about 88% of adults may lack the skills to manage their health and reduce their risk of disease. The idea of health literacy is dynamic and evolving. “The reality is that everyone needs health literacy skills to successfully find and access care, prevent certain health conditions, effectively manage those that occur, communicate their needs, understand their choices and make informed decisions,” Jepson says. Importance of Health Literacy. Once your eyes have been opened to the importance of health literacy, it might just permanently change the way you think about healthcare and the challenges facing those looking to improve health outcomes at a broader scale. It also has a significant effect on patient safety, health outcomes, healthcare costs, […] “It can be more challenging to be health literate when we are sick or in pain, so even someone who normally has a high level of health literacy may struggle at times to understand and process health information.”. The groups most likely to have low health literacy are: Factors that affect a person’s health literacy are: Still, it’s important to know that everyone, even people who are highly educated, can have health literacy issues. Blue offers several strategies patients can use, such as writing down any questions or concerns they have for providers ahead of their appointment and recording the appointment or taking notes so they can easily refer back to their doctor’s instructions. This gives them the opportunity to correct any miscommunications on the spot so you can feel prepared to take charge of your health after the appointment and beyond. Almost all breast cancer treatments have varying degrees of risk for nausea and vomiting. Please select another program of interest. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college. 02.03.2020, Anjali Stenquist | 01.20.2020. Health literacy is an essential skillset for anyone who interacts with the medical community. f; l; i & The inability to understand and use health information can put people’s health at risk. By selecting "Submit", I authorize Rasmussen College to contact me by email, phone or text message at the number provided. Why is Health Literacy Important? You open up one health magazine to find the term “health literacy” jumping out at you from the glossy pages. Please correct the errors and submit again. The program you have selected is not available in your area. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, health literacy is defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” From a public health perspective, reduced health literacy can lead to widespread consequences. “Literacy is the first step towards freedom, towards liberation from social and economic constraints. Health literacy skills allow patients to take control of their own well-being by making smart healthcare choices, improving their communication with doctors and giving them the information they need to advocate for themselves in a medical setting. posted by Nikolas Wong. The degree of a patient’s health literacy … Understanding the health literacy of America: Results of the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. Like many other developed countries, almost 60 per cent of adult Australians have low individual Breastcancer.org is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing information and community to those touched by this disease. Cutilli CC and Bennett IM. Nurses have a professional and ethical obligation to communicate in a clear, purposeful way that addresses the unique information n … On an individual level, “a person may not understand essential things such as how and when to take a prescribed medication, how to know when it is appropriate to go to the emergency room rather than a primary care doctor or how to explain signs and symptoms they are experiencing,” Blue says. Now you know that this ability to understand and take action on medical instructions has an impact on individual and public health across the country. Outcomes of good health literacy skills include things like people taking preventative action regarding their health. Recent scientific work has affirmed that misinformation (generally) and limited health literacy (specifically) are major obstacles to health 14 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Rasmussen College may not prepare students for all positions featured within this content. The lowest rates of health literacy were in minority and low income populations, as well as the elderly. Fill out the form to receive information about: There are some errors in the form. Basic math skills: Measuring medicines, understanding nutrition labels, calculating blood sugar levels, and keeping track of insurance copayments and deductibles all require basic math skills such as addition, subtraction, and multiplication. It is the prerequisite for development, both individual and collective. “When people receive accurate, easy-to-understand information, they are better equipped to take care of their health and wellness,” she says. People with low health literacy are less likely to access the healthcare services they need and to use those services appropriately. Sign up for emails about breast cancer news, virtual events, and more. People with low literacy skills also may have trouble understanding what their doctor or other healthcare provider tells them. Why is literacy important? Why Is Health Literacy Important? Orthopedic nursing, 28(1), pp. Why Health Literacy Is Important For Diverse Communities. 03.16.2020, Anjali Stenquist | It reduces poverty and inequality, creates wealth, and helps to eradicate problems of nutrition and public health.” A person with low literacy skills may not be able to understand the instructions on a prescription label. Importance of health literacy Health literacy is a significant issue for Australia. A health-literate organization provides safe, person-centered, equitable care and services. Rasmussen College is not enrolling students in your state at this time. What Is Community Health and Why Is It Important? Health literacy is an important societal issue, currently the focus of a large number of government outreach efforts. Talk with an admissions advisor today. Broadly speaking, poor health literacy impacts adherence and compliance to medication. Breastcancer.org 120 East Lancaster Avenue, Suite 201 Ardmore, PA 19003 Health literacy may be defined as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.” Deficiencies in health literacy are a big problem. Why is health literacy important to patients? 07.13.2020, Callie Malvik | The official definition of health literacy is an individual’s ability to “obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1 Just like reading literacy gives you skills to understand and use written information, health literacy refers to the skills you need to understand and make decisions about your health. A lack of health literacy can have consequences on both a patient’s personal health and the nation as a whole. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys, Ashley Brooks | There is no obligation to enroll. Your level of health literacy affects your ability to: Having good health literacy skills allows you to: People who don’t have good health literacy are more likely to: People who don’t have good health literacy also are less likely to use preventive services, such as screening mammograms, Pap smears, and flu shots. Basic health knowledge: This includes understanding how your body works and the causes of diseases, such as breast cancer. Health literacy extends beyond the patient themselves. Think of how often you use your own reading skills in everyday life. Older Adults want health information. Without health literacy, patients can suffer real consequences. A necessary component of health care decision making, health literacy impacts patients’ abilities to be engaged in their own health management. Those programs are helpful for improving health literacy on a national scale, but there are also steps you can take to make health literacy a priority in your everyday life. The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy encourages alternate forms of communication, such as using simplified language and videos to share information with patients. Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited college authorized to operate as a postsecondary educational institution by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The reasons that health literacy tools are important: 1.) “It is also appropriate to bring a trusted person to the appointment to listen in,” Blue says. Jepson agrees that plain, simple communication is the key to unlocking health literacy for everyone. The path to improving health literacy isn’t always straightforward, however. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced. Health Literacy is defined in the Institute of Medicine report, Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion, as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions." After all, you’re a dedicated parent who’s always on the lookout for ways to keep your kids and yourself healthy. Mental health literacy is having knowledge about mental disorders by recognizing specific mental disorders, their cause, and knowledge of how to access mental health services. 27–34. © 2020 Rasmussen College, LLC. Nurses are uniquely positioned to provide care that enhances effective communication and is culturally and linguistically respectful of each patient. Connect with Rasmussen College on Facebook, Connect with Rasmussen College on Instagram, Connect with Rasmussen College on LinkedIn, Connect with Rasmussen College on Pinterest, Connect with Rasmussen College on Twitter, Connect with Rasmussen College on Youtube, Human Resources and Organizational Leadership, Information Technology Project Management, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. Dealing with COVID-19 – and any health condition — is scary and unsettling. Even people who read well and are comfortable using numbers can face health literacy issues when. © 2020 Breastcancer.org - All rights reserved. And since we’re each responsible for taking care of our physical and mental health, health literacy is a necessary tool for everyone. Your kids are happily playing with toys in the pediatrician’s waiting room while you pass the time sipping coffee and paging through magazines. Especially if: At its most basic level, health literacy involves your ability to understand information about your body and your health. That certainly piques your curiosity! Ultimately, you want to leave every medical encounter feeling informed and confident about any diagnosis, medications or other instructions your doctor gave you. They aren’t familiar with medical terms or how their bodies work. It is imperative that nursing responds to the call of creating a health literate society by taking an active role in health literacy research, education, and promotion. Low health literacy predicts poor health more than any other factor—age, race, income, employment, or education. Think about how your older adult audience will come in contact with your message. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, only 12% of U.S. adults had proficient in health literacy, meaning most people lack the skills to manage their health. Many healthcare facilities have adopted programs or systems designed to improve their patients’ health literacy. Join our online community to connect, share, and find peer support. To have good health literacy, you need to have several skills, including: There are many factors that can affect health literacy. Subscribe to our podcast for conversations on the issues that matter most. Health literacy refers to the degree in which an individual is able to obtain, process, and understand basic health information. But the truth is that healthcare decisions need to be collaborative. Health information and systems have become increasingly complex and harder to understand. Well-informed patients naturally feel more confident interacting with healthcare professionals and making medical decisions. It’s not just articles like this one that require literacy, but signs, labels, and the messages on … Health literacy relates to how people access, understand and use health information in ways that benefit their health. She also emphasizes that patients don’t have to be on their own if they feel intimidated about a doctor’s appointment. The majority (53%) fell into intermediate, and a small 12% were proficient. Health literacy can help us prevent health problems and protect our health, as well as better manage those problems and unexpected situations that happen. Experts agree that health literacy is vital to reducing healthcare costs and improving public health. on April 12, 2018. share. Limited health literacy is associated with lower health outcomes, increased rates of hospitalization, decreased use of preventative services, poor health management, and higher costs. “Another good strategy is to repeat all information back to your healthcare provider, in your own words, to make sure that you understand,” Blue says. Health literacy is a social determinant of health and is strongly linked with other social determinants such as poverty, unemployment and membership of a minority ethnic group. Yet, differences in access to formal education and literacy training, the complexity and technical nature of … Studies have shown a link between low literacy and poor health outcomes. https://www.cdc.gov/healthliteracy/learn/index.html, Financial Aid and FAFSA (for those who qualify). Learn more about our commitment to your privacy. Without health literacy, patients struggle to access health information and services, putting their personal health at risk. Being able to understand health information and make decisions from that information is vital to a person's well-being. “Being health literate allows us to make the best decisions regarding our health.”. Health literacy measures your ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information. This piece of ad content was created by Rasmussen College to support its educational programs. Topic Progress: ← Back to Lesson Health literacy is important because it impacts a patient’s ability to navigate the healthcare system, share personal information with providers, engage in self-care and disease management, adopt health behaviors, and act on health-related news and announcements. Complete, accurate, and private breast cancer news, virtual events, and small. Services, putting their personal health at risk tells them read well and are comfortable numbers... A family member or friend, a home health nurse or a patient ’ why... 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